Lexus "December to Remember" message - Suck It, Poor People!

Congrats to Lexus on the Most Obnoxious Holiday Commercials of All-Time

Lexus "December to Remember" message - Suck It, Poor People!

Lexus, a perennial contender for the most annoying holiday commercials of the year, has roared back to the top of my Most Hated Christmas Commercial list in 2011 for all-time after being temporarily dethroned in 2010 by the Hyundai Hipsters. Incredibly, they’ve found a way to amp up the obnoxiousness even more this time by playing cutesy with their stupid “December to Remember” jingle. If you haven’t seen this spot from 2011, get a barf bag handy:

Look, I don’t normally encourage class jealousy or class warfare, but this is just fucking ridiculous. Who exactly does this campaign appeal to, if not privileged, upper-class white people without an ounce of shame? At least this year’s Acura holiday ads try to be funny.

If it makes you feel any better, feel free to sing along with this jingle with some lyrics I’ve come up with:

“I’m a giant douchebag / look at my car / don’t you wish you were just like me!”

(Turns out this is actually a real song called “Family & Friends” by Steve Kujala. Good for him for cashing in, I guess.)

2013 Update: While Lexus has toned down the smarm factor just a bit this year, there’s still a lot to loathe. Now these stupid fucking red bows are being elevated to holiday icon status. Ugh.

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Fisher-Price’s TV Commercials Make Me Miss Being Childless

Being the parent of a toddler, I get to watch a wide range of children’s TV. Some of it is actually pretty good, and some of it stinks. And then of course, there are the commercials. Tons and tons of commercials. For the most part I’m able to tune them out, or even have some fun with the ads.

But not the latest batch of Fisher-Price spots. Let’s see if you can guess why, with this example.

Seems pretty harmless, right? The kid’s cute, and who doesn’t love toys? I mean, yeah, that song is a little annoying, what with the singer sounding like someone drugged her water before the recording session. But I guess she’s not that obnoxious.

Now try sitting through about 100 of these ads. That whiny, droning indie hipster “singing” transforms from slightly grating to completely rage-inducing. The only thing missing from this treacly garbage is the ever-present ukulele. If Zooey Deschanel had kids she’d be singing this, I just know it.

Gah! I need to watch something vintage to cleanse the bile out of my system. Ah, this vintage Little People ad should do the trick.

Georgia Jagger for Rimmel and the Big Book of British Smiles

Get the London Look and Fit a Tuppence Between Your Teeth

Sure, Georgia May Jagger is the daughter of rock icon Mick Jagger and has a lucrative endorsement deal with Rimmel London. But on the other hand, if she forgets to close her mouth when she walks down the street everyone hears a weird whistling noise.

Yeah I know, all of these models have to have some gimmick that makes them unique or interesting. But seriously, those teeth are frigging distracting.

Georgia Jagger for Rimmel and the Big Book of British Smiles

Jagger's next endorsement deal.

Say, you know who else has the London look?

Alfred E. Neuman

"What, me sell makeup?"

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The Best of The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit (2011)

The Best of the Man in the Gray Flannel Suit — 2011

The Best of The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit (2011)

It’s been another fun and challenging year heading up my little internet concern, The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit. As always, I want to take this opportunity to thank those of you who stop by regularly and even share my content with others. This is not a money-making operation for me, so it’s gratifying to know that if my site went poof tomorrow there’d at least be a few of you who would notice for a few minutes.

The biggest happening around these parts is that I finally launched a more permanent site, of which this blog is now but a section. If you haven’t done so yet, please stop by the home site, browse around, and tell your friends and enemies!

OK, enough schmaltz and plugs. I wrote a lot of stuff this past year, some of which was actually pretty popular. Here are the ten most popular posts from this site in 2011.

#10. Commercials I Hate — “Honeymoon” (Subaru Outback)

Yup, turns out annoying hipster douchebags in car commercials boil your blood as much as they do mine. Take this young married couple from this Subaru commercial. And then roll them and their car into a lake.

#9. Album covers of the week: 1962-1966 & 1967-1970

Many of my most enduring posts are from the Album Cover of the Week series, and this one is the all-time winner. It’s a two-volume Beatles compilation, known more commonly as the Red Album and Blue Album.

#8. Graphicity: Sources of antiques in the U.S.

If you haven’t watched the History Channel show American Pickers, you can probably stay away from this pie chart I designed. If you have, then look at it now.

#7. People holding their headphones while listening to music

I was inspired by the popular Women Laughing While Eating Salad gallery to create this one, featuring people holding their headphones while… well, the title pretty much gives it away.

#6. How Google sees it: Barack Obama vs. John Boehner

I love these Google matchups, and really should do more of them. This one came about over the summer during the nut-punchingly obnoxious pissing match over America’s debt ceiling. Remember that?

#5. America the Brave: A selection of Veterans Day images

This is probably my most enduring image gallery, which is just fine by me. It’s just my tiny way of paying tribute to all who have sacrificed for our country since its founding.

#4. This is the most accurate (and funny) map of New Jersey ever

I was shocked at the reaction to this one. It went live earlier in December and it cracked the top five. You’d think I drew this map of New Jersey, divided into sections based on the types of people who live here, but I didn’t.

#3. Deadliest Catch drinking game

The most popular crab fishing-related post I’ve done, my Deadliest Catch drinking game was published in 2009. I was still a big fan of the show then, although I didn’t even bother watching after Captain Phil Harris died.

#2. Commercials I hate – Hyundai Sonata hipster Christmas

This moved up four spots from last year’s list, even though these spots (featuring Pomplamoose) didn’t even air this holiday season. It probably found traction this time thanks to a new round of annoying Hyundai commercials, but none of them made me want to kill nuns like the Pomplamoose spot.

#1. To Arms! A Gallery of War Recruitment Posters

Credit the power of StumbleUpon for the popularity of my little gallery of wartime propaganda posters. It was fun to put together, as it combined my love of history and ephemera, so that’s a bonus too.

Commercials I Hate — Toyota Prius Family

OK, there are three things really wrong with this new “Prius Family” commercial from Toyota. Can you guess what they are?

I’m sure the first thing most of you picked out as offensive is, well, the really fucking creepy Mummenschanz/Human Centipede “person.” I don’t think I need to say anything more about it, except that it is nightmare fuel of the highest order and needs to be set on fire.

OK, so the second thing. I hate, hate, HATE alarm clocks in commercials. The sound of an alarm clock means one thing to me — I have to get up earlier than I want to and pretend to care about anything. Hearing an alarm clock removed from that context just feels like some kind of middle-class, suburban PTSD. It’s as grating on my ears as that freaky, lumbering Prius Golem is on my eyes.

And last but not least, how dare Toyota try to ruin one of the better Kinks songs ever — “Got to Be Free” from Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One by the way — with their soulless shillery!? I will not allow them to sully it for me, and I pray you do the same.

(Oh and let’s not overlook how this happy Prius family apparently doesn’t have room for any minorities.)

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Commercials I Hate — “Honeymoon” (Subaru Outback)

I promise I’m not hyper-focused on car ads for this series, but it just seems that they irritate me the most these days. And this one is currently at the top of my list. It’s the oh-so-cute and romantic “Honeymoon” spot for the Subaru Outback.

Can we quit it with the sloppy hipsters in car ads already? I happen to really like the Outback, but if I saw a couple like this driving one I might just run them off the road. Of course they’d probably just say “oh, what a great adventure!” and grin like idiots.

I could probably handle the sappy montage, but then the douchenozzle husband kicks in with the smugness:

“We could’ve gone a more traditional route. But it wouldn’t have been nearly as memorable.”

You know what, hipster honeymooner? Your special little trip in the dirt is no more memorable than a Caribbean cruise. You just think it is, because you get off on cupping your own farts and feeling special and unique. GAH I hate millennials with the fury of a thousand white-hot suns.

On and by the way Subaru — nice work recycling that song (“Here Comes the Sun Again” by M. Ward). Yeah that’s right, recycled in an ad for the Cadillac SRX Crossover.

Not so special and unique now, are you hipsters?

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Commercials I Hate — Chobani Real Love Stories (Stephen)

I don’t want to hate these new Chobani “Real Love” spots. I happen to be a real-life Chobani consumer, and have been for a few years. So imagine my disappointment at seeing this complete dork on my TV:

OK, so let’s talk about the most obviously annoying aspects of this spot:

  • Dude can’t even pronounce the name of the company correctly. What the hell is Trobani?
  • He shovels that yogurt down his gullet with the same grip a kid uses to eat a bowl of cereal. Hey jerkoff, how about putting the bike away and learning a little table etiquette?
  • I don’t know if it’s sadder that this guy might have actually biked 80 miles to visit a yogurt factory, or that he brags about it.

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Commercials I Hate – Tibet (Groupon)

Timothy Hutton loves fish curry with a side of forced labor.

This one is pretty obvious. While most “controversial” Super Bowl ads of the past have feebly attempted to cross some sort of imaginary line of sexual innuendo à la Go Daddy (another series of ads I hate), Groupon decided to cross a very real line of good taste.

The idea seems to come straight out of a Saturday Night Live skit, and that’s the problem. And not just because SNL is a horribly unfunny show at this time, but because that kind of humor makes no sense in a commercial. In the context of a comedy sketch show, the parody is obvious. In the context of the Super Bowl, however, the joke seems very different.

Instead of poking a little fun at their own expense, Groupon appears to be making light of the very serious subject of Tibetan suffering. Timothy Hutton’s smug presence does nothing to alter this perception. Maybe they really were trying the “no press is bad press” route, as their ad has been even more heavily debated than the gender of the Darth Vader kid. But rather than offer a half-hearted “Oops, my bad,” the CEO has stepped up to the microphone to declare, “Many of my friends are Tibetan.”

Alright, not really, but his blog post has a similar statement (“We contribute a lot of money!”) as they try to put a positive spin that their plan was to make themselves look like bumbling fools and emphasize the plight of Tibet. Perhaps adding the information about where to donate BEFORE you run this for one of the largest television audiences ever would make it seem more sincere.

Here’s a hint, if you need a blog post to explain why your commercial isn’t offensive, it probably is. In other words, you just spent $3 million to offend thousands of existing and potential customers. Congratulations.

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Commercials I hate – Toyota Highlander and that little puke kid

Now that the holiday season is behind us and with it, thank God, those headache-inducing Hyundai hipsters, it’s time to focus on an even more insidious automotive ad campaign.  You know what I’m talking about – the Toyota Highlander commercials featuring that obnoxious little punk.

At least the hipsters were trying to convey a sense of fun and whimsy.  Can anyone explain what the redeeming qualities of these ads are?  I can tell you what I see in these spots:

  • Smart-mouthed little brat?  Check.
  • Future status-seeking jerkoff?  Check.
  • The most rage-inducing child I’ve seen on my TV since Danny Cooksey?  Check.
  • Little turd who doesn’t get the irony of calling his parents lame while wearing skinny jeans?  Check.
  • Ungrateful twerp who should be thankful his folks don’t smack that smirk and poodle haircut right off of him?  Check*
  • Future hipster who uses terms like ‘je ne sais quoi’?  Check.

I know I’m not the first person on the hate train with the ads, as they’ve been out for a few months.  But unlike the hipsters, they’re still around as a near daily reminder of why I sometimes hate our consumer culture.  And of how I hope my son does not turn out to be.

Incidentally, and for those wondering, the actor playing this pint-sized Mephistopheles has a name: Riley Thomas Stewart.

And because I’m in a charitable mood, here’s some more of these abominations!

*The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit neither condones nor promotes violence against children.  Except maybe this one.

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